Polk Theater

93-09 37th Avenue,
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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Showing 76 - 100 of 169 comments

RobertR
RobertR on July 10, 2006 at 11:34 am

One more thing: as far as I know, no XXX movies were ever shown on the Fair’s main screen, and ANY type of physical contact or sexual activity is closely monitored and STRICTLY forbidden in the main auditorium (or XXX screening rooms for that matter) – all “monkey business” is privately kept in the back booths, behind CLOSED doors (unlike the Polk, where it was “all going” in one big auditorium). As for the balcony, it has been closed to customers for quite some time.

The Kings Highway Cinema is similar to the Fair in its mixed-use configuration.
posted by Alto on May 23, 2006 at 8:48am

The main auditorium of the Fair always showerd XXX until the city started cracking down, the balcony was mobbed with customers cruising and having sex. Changing over the main auditorium was complying with the rule about only a portion of an establishment being sex related. The balcony was open at one point still with monitors but they were unable to stop the goings on so it was closed down totally.

pmullinsj
pmullinsj on July 10, 2006 at 2:17 am

I went to the Polk having discovered it here at this website about February, 2005. I went with a friend and I am so glad, because it was a true time warp and very interesting second floor antique ruins, but the theatre floor was pure suicide in feeling. I can vouch for the terrible quality VHS, and that was very tacky of the Voice not to report it properly (but they’re going down the drain anyway, firing all their best people in the last 2 years, some veterans of 40 years, really disgraceful that Goldstein, Ridgeway were fired, and Ward Harkavy reduced to a little clerkism, it sounds like, as for an ‘exciting merger’ scenario). I mainly decided to just add that the screen even looked filthy and the video was all pink-purple. This was one total slum of a place, fascinating but completely horrible. I have rarely seen any place so depressing.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on May 23, 2006 at 1:48 pm

Since we’re getting hung up on semantics here…

To give a precise picture of the types of theatres these are, I would call the Polk a “porn” theatre (in the strictest sense of the word) and the Fair an “adult” theatre because:

The Polk was single-screen and showed nothing but XXX.
The Fair’s main screen shows R-rated movies, and XXX is shown in a separate section of the building.

I would also describe the Fair as “adult” just based on the fact that minors are not allowed in.

One more thing: as far as I know, no XXX movies were ever shown on the Fair’s main screen, and ANY type of physical contact or sexual activity is closely monitored and STRICTLY forbidden in the main auditorium (or XXX screening rooms for that matter) – all “monkey business” is privately kept in the back booths, behind CLOSED doors (unlike the Polk, where it was “all going” in one big auditorium). As for the balcony, it has been closed to customers for quite some time.

The Kings Highway Cinema is similar to the Fair in its mixed-use configuration.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on May 22, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Charles Sandblom was also the architect of the treasured Harbor Theater in Brooklyn. A bit larger than the Polk, but wonderfully comfortable and attractive, the Harbor had been part of the Interboro hand-me-down-late-run circuit before turning independent and joining Premiere Showcase in the early ‘60s.
In Jackson Heights on 83 Street between Roosevelt and 37 Avenues, the Colony was another likewise comfortable and attractive late-run art deco theater. These theaters were great places to catch major-studio productions just before reaching their last sunsets.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 22, 2006 at 11:52 am

What about the Playpen (former Cameo Theater) on 8th Avenue in Manhattan? Are they not doing the porn-video projection thing on thier main screen?

While the Fair is still a porn theater – since the adult fare in their private viewing booths and the small converted-from-retail-space screening rooms is what drives their business – Warren is accurate to point out that there is no longer any porn being projected on the theater’s “big screen”. Another bit of journalistic laziness on the part of the Voice writer.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2006 at 1:59 pm

“Lost Memory,” have you lost your memory? You were discussing this last July at the listing for the Cinart Theatre.

RobertR
RobertR on May 21, 2006 at 1:34 pm

It was called the Cinart

RobertR
RobertR on May 21, 2006 at 12:54 pm

OK, so the main screen shows action double bills while people have sex in the seats and balcony and the smaller screeing rooms and private booths show XXX, your right that’s not a PORNO theatre. Sounds like just the place to take the family for a nice show.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2006 at 11:38 am

The Fair in Jackson Heights is NOT a “porno” theatre. It shows action-adventure double bills.

64lesabre
64lesabre on May 21, 2006 at 12:21 am

non-film, I presume..?

we still have 2 here in vancouver (Fox and Venus) — 3rd one (Kitten) had building demolished or would still be going. all video/dvd by now

RobertR
RobertR on May 21, 2006 at 12:10 am

The Fair in Jackson Heights and Cinema Kings Highway in Brooklyn

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 20, 2006 at 11:28 pm

The Voice article said the Polk was one of three theaters left showing porn on the big screen. What are the other two; I’d like to check them out before they close.

64lesabre
64lesabre on May 19, 2006 at 4:39 pm

I hear ya' — I already wrote a “letter to ed” of V Voice to this effect, politely of course. don’t know if they print those rec’d online….

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 19, 2006 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for clearing that up, Alto. DimitriosOtis, I guess I shouldn’t be so assuming as to a major publication’s journalistic integrity. If you ask me, it would have been even more interesting had the article played up the fact that the theater had stopped projecting film long ago and was using “tired old VHS equiment” as Alto refers to it. I find the implication that there was a projector (and that the projectors were over 50 years old) to be the result of journalistic laziness.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on May 19, 2006 at 4:29 am

As for the box office cashier “Paola” (formerly “Paolo”, no doubt), I honestly thought that she was a drag queen! That was one ugly broad, with a snippy attitude to match.

That whole place was a nightmare â€" facilities, management, staffing, customers…

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on May 19, 2006 at 4:13 am

All films were shown using tired old VHS equipment and a CRT projector. The manager did not have the resources (or know-how) to upgrade to a DVD player and movies. To him, VHS was probably state-of-the-art technology!

I recall one VHS deck being located up in the projection room, which was used mostly for storage, filled wall-to-wall with VHS tapes, piled everywhere.

Every time a movie ended, one of the theatre employees (i.e. “security” monitors) would be sent upstairs to put in the next tape. If the manager was working alone, there would be a empty screen and a wait of several minutes, as the old man needed time to hobble upstairs to change tapes!

William
William on May 18, 2006 at 7:35 pm

The Flagship Pussycat Theatre in West Hollywood was once equipped with a full Dolby Stereo system (a CP-50). During the 70’s & 80’s when they were paying union projectionists to run the adult houses. During that time if you were just starting out in the local, you got your start with a shift or two at an adult theatre. Those adult theatres were just worn out, the equipment and the theatre.

64lesabre
64lesabre on May 18, 2006 at 6:10 pm

“Many”? I’m betting ALL.

William
William on May 18, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Many of the remaining adult theatres around the country have been running videos for over the last 10-15 years. All the former Pussycat Theatres stopped running film 15 years ago. And at one time they were union projectionists running them. The theatres installed Sony or Barco type projection systems and VHS & later DVD players for the material. You could cut the amount of people on the payroll each shift by having a box office/snackbar person and a manager/video button pusher. Remember it’s cheaper to run video and no one strikes new 35mm prints for adult theatres anymore, because of the video age.

64lesabre
64lesabre on May 18, 2006 at 5:43 pm

honestly, I would confidently bet good money they were showing video ——– think of it, paying a projectionist ALL day, preparing 3 or 4 different movies a week, and last but not least LOCATING the movie prints!? I’d love to be proved wrong.
What it comes down to V. Voice-wise is the writer mislead the reader a little so the article would have that retro-film cache value. Similarly innaccurate articles were done on the Metro Theatre in Toronto in the last few years.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 18, 2006 at 5:09 pm

But I see no reason to doubt the Voice’s accounting of the condition of the theater’s facilities. (should have finished the thought before hitting the “Submit” button)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 18, 2006 at 5:08 pm

I’ll bet Alto can answer that question.

64lesabre
64lesabre on May 18, 2006 at 4:31 pm

Something not made clear was if the Polk had still been projecting FILM up to the end. I know it is extremely doubtful, and info that is in the above postings indicates otherwise. But I would like to have this confirmed. The Village Voice article implies the place was still showing film — I’m sure this was just to make the article more interesting. Please forward any info on this or any adult cinema showing FILM to — thanks!
BTW — the Polk’s phone number is OOS.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 18, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Great article, Warren. Thanks for posting it. The couple of times I went there to take photos, it was the cat-lady Sharon, and not the transsexual Paola, who was manning (no pun intended) the booth. I guess there must have been a platter system on those ancient projectors, eh? I didn’t get the feeling that there was a projectionist on duty from the discussion in the article.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on May 18, 2006 at 1:07 pm

I’ve mentioned this before, but James McCourt’s “Queer Street” has a terrific account of the Polk as a teenage hangout in the 1950s. McCourt does a few spots as a confidante and former interviewer of Bette Davis in Turner Classic Movie’s tribute to the star, “Stardust,” airing this evening at 6:30 pm.